Hello API Job Corps Centers, Today’s message is about customer service. Let’s begin with a discussion on our customers. API Job Corps Centers have two types of customers: Internal Customers: These are the people who get or give the services or products within the center. For example, teachers give a service to the students they teach. Managers provide a service to the people they manage. Buyers provide a service to the people on center who need to purchase items. Property provides a service by keeping track of and helping with the distribution of our Chromebooks. All of our staff have internal customers. It is good to write down who YOUR internal customers are so you can be sure you are meeting their needs. External Customers: These are entities that do not reside on the center but, nonetheless, need the products and services the center provides. These include, the API corporation, the Regions, the National Office of Job Corps, the National Job Corps Association, Community Relations Councils, the employers who hire our students, etc. Whether you are dealing with an internal or an external customer, according to Meena Toor, a content consultant, there are some general tips you can keep in mind to ensure you are providing good customer service. They are modified below to address Job Corps and our API centers. 1. Make sure you look at the world from your customer’s perspective. Why are they asking what they are asking for? What do they need the product or service to do? Is there a timeframe they have requested? If not, ASK. Once you see the world from the vantage point of someone who is asking for something, you will have a better chance of getting them what they need.
2. Keep QUALITY in the forefront. Research says that Americans will pay 17% more to buy from a company that has a reputation for great service. The same is true for the government. We have a greater chance achieving a great reputation as a company and you have a greater chance of achieving a great reputation as an employee if our customers, external or internal, are consistently satisfied with our work.
3. Customers want speed. Customers expect a problem to be solved immediately. We know this is true for our students and our fellow staff. This is also true with any issue the Region or the National Office of Job Corps brings to our attention.
4. Correct/Gracious Knowledge. Customers want their questions answered quickly and correctly. Microsoft found that 30% of people interviewed said that speaking with a well-informed and friendly agent is the most important part of customer service. This is true for our Job Corps centers as well. Because of that, we ALL need to know what to say and how to handle questions. Especially those questions where we DO NOT know the answer. Referring questions outside your realm to your CD is always the best bet.
5. Know your customer expectations. When is doubt, ask. Ask our students what works for them; ask teachers what they need to do a better job; ask the corporation why they are requesting something. Once we know the WHY, we can do a better job of meeting our customer needs. Please remember: The ultimate customer is our student. Once we can make sure he/she is well-served, everything else shifts into place. Congratulations to all of our centers who have been approved for Virtual Enrollment!!!! We know new customers often make snap decisions about a product or service they are considering. Keep meeting these new customer needs! Thank you for all the customers you serve, and remember, we must still follow DOL’s COVID protocols. Dr. Wild